STARZ has been dominating the world of television programming lately with phenomenal shows from Spartacus to Outlander.
Their most recent hit, Power, which recently entered its third season, premiered with highest numbers in the network’s history, pulling in 2.26 million viewers and making it the most-watched episode of any STARZ original series ever!
We spoke with Joseph Sikora, who plays Tommy Egan, to talk about the premiere and his character’s Season 3 arc.
Tommy is a really sinister character who has done a lot of dirty jobs in Power’s previous two seasons, such as wrapping a guy in bubble wrap and throwing him off a building to teach him a lesson.
“Tommy has a method to his madness. You don’t survive, I think, in extreme situations without being smart, even if it is in your own way of smart that works within the world that you operate,” Sikora said about his character.
“Some of these things are not the acts of a sociopath, because he feels — because he’s actually a feeling human, he has to dissociate from the acts as he’s doing them so he goes to a different place. He becomes a different character within a character if you will,” he reflected.
In Season 3, Tommy is at a crossroads having been given an ultimatum to kill Ghost at the expense of the family he is trying to create with Holly, played by Lucy Walters. “Now he finds himself in conflict with trying to kill Ghost and not being able to do it. Something in his heart stopped him,” Sikora said. “Obviously, just that love, or just that bond, ran so deep, deeper than he, even on the surface was able to acknowledge.”
One of the relationships that’s grown over the seasons is Tommy’s relationship with Holly. Their relationship has evolved from being lustful to a deep, dear love that has driven Tommy to protect her.
“Now Tommy is trying to be more calculated with her involvement. She sees that and feels that, but obviously, he stopped short of doing what he needed to do, and that’s kill Ghost, so not only can their family survive, but that their family can thrive,” Sikora explained.
“That puts him at odds with not only Ghost and his inner conflict but also with the love of his life, Holly.”
Fans of the show will also remember that Holly is pregnant. At this point, Tommy doesn’t know yet, but Sikora hopes that Tommy will find out about the pregnancy sooner rather than later. “He’s Irish, so he’s just waxing poetic a lot. But he has this kind of possibility, this possible future that he’s obviously thought about, and something which is in the realm of his reality,” he said.
However, Sikora also realizes the possible danger should Tommy find out about the pregnancy either after he’s killed Ghost or committed another crime.
“If he finds out after he’s killed Ghost or after he’s done something else, I think that will send him on a crazy tangent, just on a crazy jag, and I wouldn’t want to be around when Tommy finds out that news,” Sikora elaborated.
Ideal baby names for Holly and Tommy’s little boy: Thomas Maximus.
“Either that, or he’d call him Dollar Bill–Dollar William Egan,” Sikora laughed.
Another quality that makes Power so unique is the relationship between Ghost and Tommy. In Season 3, Ghost has broken the trust that Tommy had in him. The rift might be something that neither gentleman can repair.
“We’re dealing with something that is beyond trust and almost beyond just family, and that is a real deep, deep river. That’s love, and there’s a true love,” Sikora said. “That’s really what the story is about. It’s a love story between two brothers, and that’s what makes the show unique. The love between two men who are growing and changing and struggling, and that’s something we haven’t seen on television before.”
Power has been a big hit for STARZ, and Sikora reflected on how he got his breakout role and what led him to the show.
“It was an awesome pilot! It took a lot to get the role, five auditions! I had to pass on the first round of auditions that came through because I was getting married, and that’s a whole animal unto itself. Luckily it came back around and I was able to audition.”
Sikora grew up in Chicago and went into the audition ready to draw on his experience growing up in an urban environment and knowing a little bit about street life. He went in thinking that because he would be so great in the role, he would never get it.
“So you kind of go into it, not half-heartedly because I don’t do anything half-heartedly, but thinking ‘You know, let me just go in and have fun. So I went in and had fun, and I think that when you go in and have fun, and you’re given a piece that has really great writing — really great bond between these two guys, which is the scene that I auditioned with, the stars just align,” Sikora explained.
Power has a spectacular cast, and Sikora couldn’t imagine any of the characters being played by anyone else and he is thankful for being able to work with such a spectacular team especially his work with Omari Hardwick and Lucy Walters.
“I am really lucky that I have so many scenes with Omari and Lucy because they’re just absolutely gifted actors. Coupled with the writing of Gary Lennon and Courtney Kemp, you have something that’s truly special.”
Sikora also recognizes the efforts of the management team behind STARZ, including Chris Albrecht, who built HBO.
“Five years ago, you didn’t know STARZ like you know STARZ today, with all of this incredible programming,” he said.
STARZ is the home of programs such as Spartacus, Black Sails, Ash vs. the Evil Dead, and Outlander, and they’re gearing up for more big releases with American Gods in 2017.
“Chris Albrecht, Carmi Zlotnick, and Ken Segna, people have to give them a lot of credit for understanding what people wanted to see and what that material was going to be,” Sikora stated.
“When Mark Canton, Courtney Kemp, and Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson brought this idea to them, they were wise enough and had enough foresight to see that this was going to be a great show. And they just needed Omari at the helm, and to surround him with people that would challenge him in the way that we all do,” he continued.
Their hard work has paid off. Power now holds the records as the most watched STARZ original on its opening night, ensnaring 3.37 million viewers over the initial airing and the two replays. It was also recently renewed for Seasons 4 and 5.
“I was really excited. These are all things that I am sure 50 hopefully predicted but predicted nonetheless. So, you have faith in your leaders, and subsequently, they put their faith back in you. We just had a really strong team and it’s just been really encouraging,” Sikora said.
He is also cautious that the real work for the show is about to begin, and he’s ready for the next step.
“I always say that when you get those accolades when those numbers start getting big, that’s when the real work begins. That’s when people start expecting things, because you’ve raised the bar,” he stated.
Throughout his career, Sikora has guest starred on many different television programs, including programs such as Criminal Minds, Lost, Dollhouse, and CSI: Miami. He reflected on a few of his favorite experiences.
“True Detective, definitely. Cary Fukunaga has proven himself to be one of the foremost directors of my generation, for sure, the guy is a gifted, gifted person. Plus the character was great. Nic Pizzolatto, again, what a fantastic writer,” Sikora said.
“I had a wonderful time on Banshee. I would have to say. I think they were blessed with another genius showrunner and Antony Star who’s the lead of that show is a generously gifted actor and really nice guy.”
“If I had to choose a definitive favorite, other than Power, it would be The Heart, She Holler on Adult Swim. Written by John Lee and Vernon Chapman. My wife said, ‘if you could please get another show with them, you came home from work every day so happy,'” he continued.
“It was just a wonderful experience and to work with some great people like Heather Lawless, and Paton Oswald, and Amy Sedaris was truly a gift.”
He also reflected a role he would like to revisit should the timing be right.
“I would love it if the dates would be able to work out, if I could reprise my role of Frog Jack on Underground, which was also directed by our first director, Anthony Hemingway of Power.”
Sikora is also an animal lover. His dog Ruby is a mixed breed dog that he rescued from an area in Chicago. At the time, she was emaciated and had bad dental damage. They estimated her age to be between one to two years old. Since then, Ruby has been thriving.
“She’s at least eighteen and a half, and I’ve had her for a long time. She’s so wonderful. My wife has her on a raw diet with all these supplements, and she’s still a happy thing,” Sikora stated.
“She can’t hear very well, but she can see, and every now and again she can run if there’s a squirrel or a bird that’s close enough. I love her so much. I don’t know what life would be like without her; I’ve had her for about half my life,” he continued.
Sikora is also eagerly awaiting the return of The Knick on Cinemax.
“It’s so wonderful. One of my favorite actresses is an English actress, but she lives in America, named Cara Seymour. She played Sister Harriet in that series, and my god, what a subtly beautiful performance throughout every single time she’s on screen. She’s phenomenal!”
Be sure to catch Joseph Sikora as Tommy Egan on Power, airing Sundays at 9/8c on STARZ.